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GT-R service centres open

2009-09-03 11:15
As the first batch of GT-Rs awaits delivery to their new owners, two local Nissan High Performance Centres (NHPC) have opened their doors.

Ever since GT-Rs started prowling South Africa’s roads for fuel testing and homologation purposes there has been a gnawing doubt in the collective consciousness of enthusiasts...

How exactly were Nissan’s bakkie and SUV-biased dealers going to get the wheel balancing and excruciatingly delicate ECU calibration right on these all-wheel drive rocket ships?

Gauteng-based focus

During October of last year Nissan announced it would be doing the sensible thing and vet dealers who could possibly match the strict criteria which would qualify them to sell and service GT-Rs.

At the time it was imagined there would be approximately five dealers, three in Gauteng and one each in Cape Town and Durban.

Currently, only two have been given the official NHPC blessing – Melrose Nissan in Johannesburg and Global GT-R in Hatfield, Pretoria.

Coastal region GT-R owners will be integrated into the service experience offered by the two Gauteng  NHPC centres. Considering 80% of all GT-R sales volume will be in Gauteng, this state of affairs is purely market driven.

Tyre balancing equipment appears to have been lifted from a Star Trek episode.

And you thought changing a 911s plugs were a mission...

Although the GT-R does without direct-injection, the remainder of the car’s mechanical suite is resolutely state of the art.

The individualisation of each hand assembled engine and calibrated gearbox ensures great dexterity is needed when servicing the chief drivetrain components.

GT-R’s V6 engine has each bank of opposing cylinders individually checked for compression symmetry to ensure optimal performance during service intervals.

In the US, the dual-clutch transmission’s launch function has been the source of ire relating to reliability rumours and warranty claim issues. South African GT-Rs are mildly updated – and negligibly more powerful – cars, which have addressed the launch control issues.
Perhaps the greatest challenge for a dealership, even an NHPC accredited service centre, relating to the GT-R is its intricate wheel balancing.

With the car featuring all-wheel drive and a nearly infinite range of torque distribution eventualities between the four wheels, balancing a R35’s contact patch footprint is not the work of a moment.

Simply getting the GT-R off the ground to a workable inspection height is an unwitting challenge, with the front spoiler boasting a scant 127mm of clearance. The only solution is in-floor alignment lifts.

Expensive equipment, experienced service personnel and owners of the benevolent hooligan persuasion; Nissan's GT-R will bring these fine elements together.

Factor in the nitrogen supply mandatory for those high-performance Dunlop tyres, impeccably turned out tooling required to adjust the Brembo brake calipers and an immense amount of software necessary for diagnostic purposes and the presence of only two NHPC centres is hardly surprising.

Pandering to the whims of the GT-R’s enthusiast customer profile, NHPC centres will happily oblige to tailor the R35’s wheel alignment and suspension settings for track, high-speed or city driving demands.

No one ever said keeping Godzilla around was going to be low maintenance…

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